In 2011, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued interim
final rules (IFRs) in accordance with the Dodd-Frank Act's general
transfer of rulemaking authority. At the time the law was issued, it handed
the CFPB authority to make rules that affect the financial industry. Last
month, the CFPB finally adopted the final rule making the previous interim
After the passage of Dodd-Frank, the CFPB assumed rulemaking authority
for 14 federal consumer financial protection laws, which include the ECOA,
EFTA, FCRA, FDCPA, GLBA, HMDA, RESPA, and TILA. The 2011 law removed authority
from the Federal Reserve and other federal agencies and turned it over
to the CFPB. In implementing the 14 laws, the CFPB took the existing regulations
that implement those laws and republished them in the Federal Register
under Title 12 of the Code of Federal Regulations. Those IFRs contained
technical changes to reflect the transfer of authority and other changes
mandated by Dodd-Frank but did not add any new substantive obligations
to the existing regulations. The CFPB’s final rule summarily adopts
all 14 IFRs as final.
There were more than 100 comments submitted by industry trade associations,
consumer groups, creditors, and other interested parties concerned over
whether the CFPB was bound by rules issued by previous rulemaking agencies.
The CFPB classified the comments as generally falling into four broad
categories: (1) typographical or grammatical errors; (2) the effect on
existing Internet links; (3) requests that the CFPB confirm that it is
bound by existing informal advisory opinions issued by predecessor agencies;
and (4) requests for various substantive changes to the regulations.
In the Supplementary Information, the CFPB explained that it has “considered
all of the comments received and has decided to adopt the December 2011
IFRs as final without change, subject to intervening final rules published
by the Bureau.” Of particular interest is the CFPB’s response
to comments regarding the treatment of informal advisory opinions. The
Bureau explains that it had already addressed the matter before the December
2011 IFRs by issuing a notice in the Federal Register in July of 2011.
In that notice, the CFPB provided a list of enforceable rules and orders,
noting that it “will give due consideration to the application of
other written guidance, interpretations, and policy statements issued
prior to July 21, 2011, by a transferor agency in light of all relevant
factors . . .”
If you have any questions on this topic, please contact
Jaspreet Kaur, Esq.